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Self-Discipline: If It Were Easy, Everyone Would Do It

Everybody wants self-discipline – or says they do. But it’s so hard! Is it really worth the time and energy to get it? The short answer is yes, absolutely.

What is self-discipline?

Self-discipline is the ability to follow through with a goal, decision or action despite the distractions and shiny objects that life throws at you. You keep going no matter how tough it gets or what people say about you.

It requires you to play the long game. Your goal is off in the distance and there are no shortcuts to getting there. You must stay focused.

Self-discipline has been practised by philosophers and leaders for thousands of years because the benefits are enormous. Unfortunately, humans love instant gratification and rewards. This is especially true now that we have everything we desire at our fingertips.

Our patience for waiting has become very thin and we expect what we want to be delivered to us immediately – ideally by drone!

But you don’t have to be a Tibetan monk meditating on a mountain all day to develop self-discipline.

Why it’s worth it

No matter what your goal is – to wake up at 5am, eat healthy, go to the gym 5 days a week – self-discipline will help you achieve it.

Self-discipline gives you an edge – it puts you ahead of the pack.

Look around you. Everyone is staring at their phones, scrolling through social media, jumping from distraction to distraction, and not following through on one idea before thinking of another.

When you’re self-disciplined, you’re doing something else. You’re patient and focused on a goal. You’re not easily distracted and you don’t waste time.

And because you’re looking at the long view, you don’t suffer from stress, frustration and anger when things don’t immediately go your way. You know it’ll take time. 

You have more confidence in your decisions because they’re not based on impulse. They’re aligned with what you truly want.

How to develop self-discipline

If it were easy, everyone would do it.

Like any new skill, self-discipline takes practice. But it starts with making a decision – you must choose a direction. Self-discipline forces us to become laser-focused about what we want.

But this is difficult to do in a world where we can have everything. Our choices are endless and we have FOMO – fear of missing out.

Once you make the right decision or set the right goal, move forward and forget the other options. They don’t exist anymore. Don’t look back.

Write down your goal and put it somewhere you’ll see it every day. But that alone won’t keep you going – you need to take action. Decide what actions to take to start building the habits you need to reach your goal.

Want to get up at 5am?

  • Set your alarm.
  • Make a rule that you don’t stay in bed longer than 10 minutes before getting up.
  • Put your clothes beside your bed the night before.

Want to start going to the gym?

  • Block out the time in your calendar.
  • Put your gym gear in your car so it’s always there.
  • Hire a personal trainer for a few sessions to develop the habit.
  • Ask a friend to come with you for accountability.

Getting support

Developing self-discipline won’t be easy. Negative self-talk will kick in, and temptations and distractions will block your way. You may even get bored and wonder if you should do something else.

Surround yourself with like-minded people to help you stick to your goals. For example:

  • If you’re in business, go to networking events where you can meet others who are smashing it.
  • If you want to get fit, join a group class and meet people who are hitting their goals.

Also, if you can’t find real people for support and accountability, YouTube is a goldmine. Every day, you can watch videos of people who are already achieving your goals. Soak up their advice and remind yourself why it’s important to you.

It will seem strange at first – change always does. But if you keep going, it’ll become second nature. And then you’ll be unstoppable.

Got any questions? Feel free to contact me!

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